Frank Lloyd Wright With a Hard Hat?

When given a lemon, make lemonade.

That must have been on the minds of the staff at Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1910 Robie House in Chicago recently, when faced with the prospect of several weeks of daily restoration work taking place inside the house.

The lemonade:  Robie House Restoration Hard Hat Tours.

Rather than pretend the restoration isn’t taking place, the staff is organizing three Friday evening (6:30-8:30pm) behind-the-scenes tours April 27, May 25, and June 22 at the Robie House (5757 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago). Admission is $60 for the public and $50 for Trust members. To purchase tickets, visit:

Led by expert guides, the Robie House Restoration Hard Hat Tours will enter limited access areas of the building for a closer look at the project as it evolves over the next several months. Light refreshments will be served before each tour. A souvenir Frank Lloyd Wright Trust hard hat is included with each ticket.

The recent return of Wright’s signature inglenook (above) to the living room marks a key point in the transformation of the Robie House. Removed during a time the Robie House was used for institutional purposes, including a dormitory and administrative offices, the inglenook is a crucial component of the main floor’s design aesthetic. The inglenook accentuates the transition from a low, narrow space that explodes into an expansive living room illuminated by the tint of Wright’s abstract leaded glass windows.

Other work includes plaster and coloration of walls and ceilings, woodwork and floor treatments. Light fixtures and selected leaded-glass windows and doors are also part of the restoration. Rooms being treated include the main entry hall and stairway; billiard room and children’s playroom on the ground floor; and the living room, dining room and guest bedroom on the main floor. Several important rooms will be complete this summer.

Public tours are continuing during the restoration. For more information about the restoration, visit:

Photos and information courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Trust.